Making the Chamber Style Reed
for Penny-Chanters
October 2001 Update

Original 7 November 2000


The "chamber" style of reed is one whose complex interior shape is obtained mostly by gouging and sanding rather than by the more common bending processes. One variant of this method is taught by Andreas Rogge, another is illustrated in some detail on the web site of Evertjan t'Hart. I have heard that it was also practiced by the famous Irish pipemaker Leo Rowsome.

Here are adaptations to make such a reed that plays well in Penny-Chanter. It has the benefit for novice reed makers of needing very little cane knowlege to create the proper shape, with a construction that is reasonably safe against permanent collapse due to weather or assembly problems. However it does require some mechanical skill to cut, sand and scrape the cane carefully.

The Penny-Chanter requires its own special staple (the metal tube on which the cane blades are mounted). I sell these ready-to-use, and a free spare is provided with Penny-Chanters that I sell. Dimensions for making your own staples are linked below.

Evertjan's pages linked below can be used as a primary reference, with greatest success for Penny-Chanter (in my experience) by substituting dimensions and variations given on this page. For other chanters the information here may help give some useful ideas if chamber style reeds have been unsatisfactory.

One note, this style of reed may work best over a narrower range of adjustment than the bending-formed reeds. When finishing and fine-tuning, it is probably best to play the reed for 5-10 minutes before assessing its performance, so that the reed is best for the long period of playing when warmed-up rather than for the first few moments at the beginning of a playing or practice session.

References and Updates Tested for Penny-Chanter
October 2001

  1. Evertjan t'Hart's Reedmaking Web Site.
  2. Diagram for making staple required for Penny-Chanter if not purchasing my staples
  3. How to roll sheet metal staple from David Daye's educational Bagpipe Page
  4. Diagram of cane dimensions tested for Penny-Chanter
  5. Carving or gouging chamber steps tested for Penny-Chanter
  6. Sanding the gouged chambers into a smooth interior shape
  7. Assemble and bind reed
  8. Heat-set the shape to reduce weather sensitivity
  9. First Crude Scraping of the reed
  10. Attach the bridle to control reed shape during finishing
  11. First attempt to finish the scrape
  12. More views of final scrape
  13. Adjusting the scraping and performance

  1. Seth Gallagher's Reedmaking Web Site -- a different method based on the more common bending/formation which works when Penny-Chanter staple and cane outside dimensions are used as shown above. Does not involve carving a chamber.

Questions, special order questions email David Daye at: 

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